“Don’t run away from grief, o soul. Look for the remedy inside the pain. Because the rose came from the thorn and the ruby came from a stone.” – Rumi
I know that before I started taking private lessons that I had an idea what Yoga was. I thought it was all about wearing the awesome pants, trying to get flexible, and learning how to do wicked awesome moves. Before my journey with Everybody Bend Yoga, I was lost inside my mind. I was a frequent flyer to therapy sessions, sleeping more than I should, and procrastinating the day away. I felt lost and stagnant for a long time in my life.
I woke up one day and decided I was sick of feeling and accepting the negativity of what had become my life.
I had gone through a lot of loss. I lost my father to terminal illness, my mother to mental illness, and add in going through a break up from a three-year relationship. I figured that since I went to therapy and was leaving feeling happy, that I was okay – but found myself slumping into my old ways. When the happy wore off, the emotions of pain and sadness lingered very strongly.
I have taken classes with Alissa at the local community college where she teaches, and I found her classes to be very informative. I always left taking something from class to apply to my life. When I saw she was offering private yoga, life lessons and sound therapy all in one, I took her up on it. I knew her from class and felt comfortable exposing my lack of balance to her. The comfort and depth of yoga she gets into opens your mind to things that you are burying inside and ignoring. I will be honest, I wasn’t sure how this was going to make me feel. Was this going to be for me?
It turned out that it was not only the best money spent, but also led me to the best discovery of my life.
Just rolling around on a tennis ball to work out my knots and weak spots opened me up to how I was:
- Accepting the negative.
- Accepting the depths of sadness and pain.
- Accepting staying in discomfort, which had become comfortable.
You can be in a funk, maybe not keeping yourself accountable and moving along, a slump I suppose. When you go to Alissa, she has a way of getting your mind to snap back to the positivity of being the person you have always wanted to be, that you attract what you put out into the universe. When I leave, I feel regrouped, centered and sore. Especially when you ask for core work, Alissa will work you on that mat and the next day you will feel it.
The journey with Everybody Bend Yoga, has been that of self-awareness and keeping everything in harmony. Gandhi said it best when he said “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.- Gandhi “
I hope you – whoever is reading this – takes the courage to be the YOU that you have always wanted to be. I have been through pain, trauma and grief. I felt trapped in it. You get to a point where you are just sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. This will awaken parts of you that have always been there, just not as strong as you would have liked them. I wish you well on your journey and may you pursue true happiness.
There’s something to be said for a really good book – one that inspires, makes you think, helps you find peace, or is instrumental in adjusting your perspective and helping you navigate this sometimes painful and complicated world. Lately, I have been doing a tremendous amount of reading, partly due to yoga, and partly due to changing life circumstances. The books below are many that I have read since the start of the New Year (2016), while others are exceptional books from my past. The asterisk and bold font denotes the ones I suggest you read to begin your journey.
There is No App for Happiness – Max Strom
A Life Worth Breathing – Max Strom
When Things Fall Apart – Pema Chodron
Spiritual Solutions – Deepak Chopra
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success – Deepak Chopra
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga – Deepak Chopra
The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz*
The Five Levels of Attachment – Don Miguel Ruiz Jr. *
The Mastery of Love – Don Miguel Ruiz *
The Voice of Knowledge – Don Miguel Ruiz
Turning the Mind Into an Ally – Sakyong Mipham
The Yamas and the Niyamas – Debora Adele
Rising Strong – Brene Brown *
Daring Greatly – Brene Brown
The Gifts of Imperfection – Brene Brown
I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t) – Brene Brown
The Tethered Soul – Michael A. Singer *
Wired for Love – Stan Tatkin *
The 5 Love Languages – Gary Chapman
The Ecstasy of Surrender – Judith Orloff
The Danish Way of Parenting –
How to Be Here Now –
Eastern Body Western Mind – Anodea Judith*
The Mastery of Self – Don Miguel Ruiz Jr.*
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck – Mark Manson
The Awkward Path to Getting Lucky – Summer Heacock
A Year of Divine Intuition – A. R. King* (may be purchased through this website)
The Village Effect – Susan Pinker
Modern Romance – Aziz Ansari
Admittedly, I’m a self-proclaimed foodie. I love good, fresh, local food – food that has been lovingly prepared, and food that makes me feel good. I also have a total sweet tooth. As a competitive bodybuilder, I have phases in my training where I can partake of said delicious food, and times where I am in strict-diet mode for up to four months. When health, nourishment, and meals deviating from my daily menu come few and far between, I have come to really appreciate restaurants that meet my needs with flavor, quality, and consistency. Like anything, these are simply my recommendations. Note, I go head-over-heels for good bread pudding. Some of the restaurants are frequented by me simply for this dessert. The restaurants below have not disappointed me yet!
Trostel’s Dish (EVERYTHING) – Des Moines, IA
La Mie (EVERYTHING) – Des Moines, IA*
Fong’s Pizza – Des Moines, IA
The Cafe (EVERYTHING)- Ames, IA*
Stomping Grounds – Ames, IA
Thai Spice – (fresh spring rolls and pad thai) – Ames, IA
Taste of India (samosa chaat, butter chicken, plain and pashwari naan)- Cedar Rapids, IA
Wit’s End (scones) – Marion, IA*
Zoey’s Pizza – (get the cheesy bread, Chicago style pizza, and the Zookie) – Marion, IA
Stella’s (butterscotch bread pudding) – Iowa City, IA
Her Soup Kitchen (EVERYTHING) – Iowa City, IA *
Leaf Kitchen (Breakfast/Brunch) – Iowa City, IA *
Atlas – Iowa City, IA
Molly’s Cupcakes (cookie monster and Oreo cupcakes) – Iowa City or North Liberty, IA
Big Grove Brewery (cod fillet, fried Brussels, house salad) – Solon, IA
Melting Pot – Madison, WI or Minneapolis, MN
Hell’s Kitchen – Minneapolis, MN
Cafe Manna Java – Dubuque, IA
First Watch – Omaha, NE or St. Louis, MO